Remodeling a Kitchen? How to Cheat on the Budget and Get What You Really Want

Remodeling a Kitchen: Economics 101

Will remodeling a kitchen leave you in the "poorhouse?" Let's see...

$53,931.  That's Remodeling Magazine's figure for the average major kitchen remodel cost for 2012-2013.
$18,527 for a "minor" kitchen remodel!

I don't know about you, but I think that's a heck of a lot of money!  And those are averages, folks.  Which means some people spent waaaay more than that.
And if the cost isn't enough to blow you down, check out the resale value of the improvements:
$37,139 for a major kitchen remodel, and $13,977 for a minor one.


That's right...
On average, people lose thousands of dollars remodeling a kitchen!

Not exactly the pretty picture painted by all those kitchen remodeling shows, is it?  But when you get some of the most talented designers and craftsmen working for you for free (because it's a tv show), you do a little better than your average Joe.

But you aren't about to be on national tv.  You don't have famous people designing your kitchen layout for free.  So how can you remodel a kitchen without losing your shirt?  And maybe even get some of those things you really want?

Beat those costs down, one at a time.

Kitchen Remodeling Costs: Including the Kitchen Sink

What are you actually paying for when you remodel a kitchen?  Everything...

Including the kitchen sink! (sorry, I couldn't help myself...)

You may need kitchen cabinets, structural changes to the house, a kitchen designer, appliances, contractor's time and expertise, permits, electrical, gas lines, plumbing, windows, floors, vent hood, drywall, paint, backsplash, lighting fixtures, cabinet door and drawer hardware, and countertops.  And did I mention the garbage disposal and faucet to go with that new kitchen sink?  How about a soap dispenser?  Even "little" things count towards the total. 

And don't forget labor to install all that gorgeous stuff!

For an older house, you may have unexpected costs like removing asbestos, lead pipes, and mold.  Or electrical wiring that's not up to code, or pipes that need replacing (even under concrete!).

Even if you don't plan on extras like a wine refrigerator or built in coffee maker, it sure adds up quickly. 

How to reduce the cost?

  • Consider a minor remodel (with major effect!)
  • Design a cost effective layout
  • Get a bargain on common "must haves" like granite counters, "souped-up" appliances, and designer style kitchen cabinets

Need more info on reducing costs, what people usually spend, and how to decide on a budget? Head on over to kitchen remodeling costs.

Also, a cost effective layout is one that's simply cheaper to build.  Simple plans cost less.  Find out how a simple kitchen design can save you money.

Cheap Kitchen Remodeling: How to Get It Done for Even Less

For really cheap kitchen remodeling, you'll need to do a minor remodel and live with the current kitchen layout.  Most minor remodels involve reusing at least the cabinet boxes.  Even with new cabinets, the layout will have to make use of the old plumbing, gas, and electrical locations. 

If you can't live with the current layout, you're destined for a major kitchen renovation (but that doesn't have to mean major bucks).  Learn more about cheap kitchen remodeling.

DIY Kitchen Remodeling: Is it for you?

Labor can be 30% of a kitchen remodeling project.  Some major dollars can be saved... if you're handy.  But whether you want to tackle a particular project depends on whether you have the skills, tools, time, and desire to actually do it.  If you are missing any one of the above, consider saving money elsewhere!

Learn more about DIY kitchen remodeling.

Kitchen Cabinets Cost: A Major Part of the Budget

I've seen estimates that kitchen cabinets should be anywhere from 30-50% of the total budget.  Truthfully, it can be as little or as much as you want it to be. 

If your layout is functional and your cabinet boxes are structurally sound, you may want to skip new cabinets and refresh the old ones. 

However, if your layout stinks worse than last week's cantaloupe or your cabinet boxes are falling apart, you'll need new cabinets. 

In either case, you'll want to learn more about how to get cheaper kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen Remodel Layout: If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

If the current layout works well, don't change it just for the sake of change.  New or refreshed cabinetry will take care of your need for a new look (along with lighting, counters, appliances, flooring, and the backsplash, of course!).

If, on the other hand, you can't stand the current layout, you'll need to step into the land of a major remodel and move plumbing, gas lines, and/or electrical. Maybe move a few walls (or take them out completely!).  If you need to improve the function of your kitchen, learn more about your kitchen remodel layout options.

Kitchen Remodeling Designs: Beauty that Lasts

If you want to design for beauty and not just function, a little knowledge on how to make a beautiful kitchen will go a long way.  You don't need an interior design degree, but a few tips and rules of thumb are sure to come in handy.    Explore kitchen remodeling designs.

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